Tuesday, December 28, 2010

omnomnoms in orlando

Oh, I just love cheesy alliteration. -facepalm-

Anyway, Sunday was our last day in Orlando. And we didn't go to Universal Studios! [We figured that having spent a collective 30 hours there in three days was enough for one trip, and it was pretty frigid outside.]

inside the Piazza Italia on Park Ave
So we returned to Park Avenue for lunch. Well, that was the plan, anyway. There ended up being some major traffic so we spent more time in the car than actually walking around Park Ave.

But, the main point of this post is to convince you to visit Park Avenue in Downtown Orlando if you're ever in the area, because they have got some serious omnomnoms there.

Like I said in my enormous rant about Hogwarts, we had previously gone to Paris Bistro for lunch, located in the Piazza Italia. I'm not quite sure why there was a Parisian restaurant in the so-called Italian plaza, but nevertheless. It was delicious.

Yusra with the Poulet Roti Sur Pain Toaste at Paris Bistro
When we came back on Sunday, I really wanted to try something new. So we went to a little place called Spice Modern Steakhouse. It's so funky and mod inside, kind of like how I anticipate my future bakery/world-famous cafe (-snort-) will be. They had a really diverse menu, surprisingly. Sandwiches, soups, salads, yadda yadda, but also steak and sushi. Very classy. Not terribly expensive. And the food tastes as good as it sounds.

I'm really glad that at this point none of my family is fazed by me busting out an enormous camera whenever we go out to eat.

The four of us ordered their Baked Brie en Croute as a starter, and it was divine. Basically a puff pastry filled and baked with brie inside, served with fresh fruit, almonds, crackers, and strawberry preserves. And for lunch Yusra and I both ordered the French Dip sandwich, with a side of garlic pesto fries. GARLIC PESTO FRIES. DIPPED IN HOUSE-MADE MARINARA SAUCE. I was blown away by the ingenuity of the idea.

I mean, after this meal, I'm literally planning out a life revolving around moving to Downtown Orlando just so I can come eat here every day.

After walking for a while [and returning to the Tea & Spice Emporium to stock up on some plum caramel tea leaves], we went by Kilwin's Ice Cream, Fudge, and Chocolate shop for some homemade ice cream. Toasted coconut and cappuccino chocolate chunk, to be exact. Even though it was below 40 degrees outside, I had been craving some real ice cream [as opposed to soft-serve, which is the only thing they serve at Universal], and so ordered some. I was basically shivering for a good hour afterward, but it was worth the pain. That toasted coconut was probably the best ice cream I've ever had. I kid you not. [It helps that I'm extremely partial to coconut, but what the hey.]

I really wish we had had more time to browse Park Ave. It's quite a long strip of some of the cutest local shops and restaurants I've ever seen. Definitely pay it a visit if you're ever in the area. We had also gone to a really adorable Thai restaurant, Napasorn Thai, our first night in Orlando; not on Park Ave, but Downtown on Pine Street.

world's largest Hard Rock Cafe
Aside from Downtown, Universal CityWalk has a surprising amount of pretty good restaurants. Apparently, the world's largest Hard Rock Cafe is located in Universal Studios, which I found both surprising and really awesome, since I do love me a good burger every now and again. And Hard Rock is the place for good burgers. So we dropped by for lunch on Saturday. It was a good decision. For dinner we went to Pastamore, an Italian restaurant also located at Universal CityWalk. Great bread and olive oil, chicken marsala, and strawberry cheesecake [yes, that was my meal]. They also had a pizza margherita I was curious to try, though I was in the mood for some meat at the time so I decided against it. Ah, so many tough decisions in life...

I think that's it on the food front. Of course the parks themselves are filled with [overpriced] dining locations, so it was really a non-issue to find food. I was a huge fan of the abnormally large smoked turkey legs. Also, the Lost Continent in Islands of Adventure is home to the supposed #1 theme park restaurant, 6 years in a row, Mythos. We had been planning on eating dinner there during one of our trips to the park, but the wait line was about an hour, and impatience got the best of us [and anyway, Pastamore was a good alternative]. But I took a glance at the menu while we were in the area, and it looked pretty good. Lots of really interesting dishes; blueberry and pistachio crusted pork, imported pasta, Pad Thai, and the view itself of the restaurant [both inside and out] is absolutely beautiful. Almost as if it's located in a cave behind a waterfall. If I go back to Universal, I'm definitely going to try and check it out.

But at this point, I'm quite sure that I've bored you enough with my disturbingly enthusiastic rants about food!

And anyway, I still have Harry Potter on the brain. Ugh. I'm not kidding. As we were leaving the park I'm pretty sure my eyes started tearing up [though whether that was from the wind or overwhelming emotion, I'm not sure. Likely both.]. I'm experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

I could seriously go for some Butterbeer right now. Or maybe a Cornish pastie. Or another ride on the 'Dragon Challenge.' Hell, I'll even wait in line for an hour [again] to go buy a cauldron cake.

...This is truly sad.


  1. My thoughts! What an amazing young lady you are. so many talkents - you remind me of a younger me. I would love to know more about how you take such lovely photos of your trips and food.

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